Published: 07th September 2023
"I was manhandled, fell unconscious," alleges disabled JNU PhD scholar Farooque Alam who was attacked
In a voice note shared with EdexLive, Farooque alleged that the varsity's administration has been intentionally targetting him for the past 1.5 years
On Wednesday, September 6, a PhD scholar with disability from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was allegedly attacked by the Kaveri Hostel warden and members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) unit of the varsity, claims the National Students' Union of India (NSUI).
Since then, several videos of him at the hostel and on a hospital stretcher have been shared by NSUI social media handles and are going viral. The scholar has been identified as Farooque Alam who is also a senior activist of the NSUI.
Explaining how the incident transpired, Farooque, in an audio note shared with EdexLive, claimed, "The hostel warden visited my room along with security guards and ABVP members, broke the lock on the door and vacated it illegally while I was not there." It is disclosed that this move of the administration comes as an outcome of a pending case in the Delhi High Court.
"They removed all my belongings, purse, books, documents and my laptop which has my thesis. Now I am clueless about the whereabouts of my laptop and I am concerned about my thesis submission," a disheartened Farooque stated.
"Saddened over this move, with tears rolling down, I rushed to request the warden to give me two or four days to look for an alternative," he allegedly told the warden.
"However, all the 11-12 people present — four to five security guards, three wardens and ABVP members — said, 'Let him cry, vacating will be done today and no one will obstruct this'," claimed the scholar.
Disclosing more details about the alleged attack by ABVP, he said, "I was pulled by my collar by an ABVP member, I was manhandled and I fell unconscious. Following this, I was taken to Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi for medical treatment and was discharged at night."
ABVP denies allegations
JNU ABVP Secretary Vikas Patel refuted the allegations and in a conversation with EdexLive, and claimed, "None of the ABVP members were involved in the incident. We were at the convention centre to assist the newly joined students."
Furthermore, establishing that the incident which happened was between the administration and Farooque, and not ABVP, the secretary alleged that an old complaint regarding Farooque making comments which were sexual in nature was pending in the proctor's office. Hence, ABVP has no relation to this attack, he claims. Adding more, Patel alleged that the incident took place based on the instructions given by the proctor which was followed by the hostel warden.
On the other hand, the National Secretary of NSUI, Lokesh Chugh told EdexLive, "Even if it was an issue between administration and a student, it never grew violent towards the student." Further, he alleged, "This was a pre-planned mob attack."
Reaching out for help
"I was in shock and in trauma as I am pursuing my final year of PhD. It is illegal and a crime to break into my room in my absence," Farooque said. Giving more details, he said he along with other students reached out to the hostel warden and the Assistant Dean for an alternative accommodation, but their response was allegedly negative. Additionally, "We were asked to send an email to the proctor. Although we all dropped an email, there hasn't been any response so far."
Further, terming the incident "distressing" and "unfortunate", he said, "I am staying out of the university now and there is a lot of pressure on me to submit my thesis paper." Additionally, for the past 1.5 years, the university has been trying to damage my image and harass me by sending notices, he alleged.
Support from AISA
In support of Farooq Alam, the All India Students' Association (AISA) unit of JNU issued a statement saying, "It is high time that this nefarious nexus between ABVP and Admin be called out and defeated. We appeal to the student community to resist this unholy nexus and stand in solidarity with Farooq Alam."